The Lying Room by Nicci French

When you first meet Neve, you’ll think she’s a typical middle aged woman stressed by her work and her kids, but quickly you realise Neve has a dark secret.

On arrival at her colleague’s/kind-of-boss’ flat, fate has dealt her a terrible blow. Saul is lying on the floor and it’s quite clear he’s been murdered, the blood and the hammer are dead giveaways…

The shock hits her. She should call the police. But she doesn’t. Instead she cleans the flat from top to bottom.

When Inspector Hitching arrives at the crime scene, he knows something is off, it doesn’t add up. The murder weapon is nowhere to be found. Except Neve didn’t take it, so who did?

French’s wring style creates pace from the very first sentence and makes you feel like you should be constantly looking over your shoulder as you begin to sync with Neve’s emotions and thoughts.

Hitching interviews all of Neve’s colleagues but doesn’t seem to be any closer to solving the case. He does take an interest in Neve though… does he suspect her or just like her as a person?

Gary, Renata and Tamsin are all in Neve’s team and not surprisingly they can’t stop talking of Saul’s death. Neve needs to keep her cool and not blurt out what she’d done… but it turns out she’s not the only one keeping secrets and more questions are now on the table. Did one of her colleagues kill Saul? Did she even really know him?

The plot is sounding packed full of suspense and already shaping up to have a sizzling, dramatic end… but French ramps up the tension at home too. Neve’s husband; Fletcher, seems to be on the verge of saying something important to her. Her daughter; Mabel, having had a traumatic experience a couple of years ago is acting even more erratic than usual, is it just because she’s leaving home?

Neve’s plate is over full but things continue to be added. After hosting a dinner party with all her old uni chums, including Jackie and Will, she can’t seem to shift them. Her home has become a hub to all, attracting Detective Hitching again, what has he discovered?

This is an incredibly immersive thriller that will really draw you in and have you second guessing everything that the characters say. I liked the layers of secrets within the plot that gave you a thrill when they were revealed and kept you guessing when the truth of Saul’s killer would be exposed.

The characters made this story, French’s strong characterisation brings depth and complexity to an already very cleverly concocted story.

The Lying Room is out TODAY in hardback and eBook versions from Simon & Schuster.

I was very kindly sent a proof copy from the lovely Jess, I’m very grateful that I got to read this plot early!

Until next time, Chloé x

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